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the World Cup: a "fingers crossed" attitude towards litigation?

7 June 2010

Mars, the FA’s official sponsor, is considering taking legal action against Nestlé’s latest advertising campaign for Kit Kat for “passing themselves off” as being associated with the England football team. This is particularly interesting since Mars ran a very similar campaign 4 years ago.

With major sporting events, “ambush marketing” can be rife with advertisers other than official sponsors keen to piggyback on the popularity of the event without expressly associating themselves with it.

Although sporting associations often publish guidelines as to what references they will permit, which prohibitions are actually enforceable is a question of law. There is obviously a line which must not be crossed. However Nestle say they have taken advice, and feel that the campaign is permissible.

If the law doesn’t protect the rights which official sponsors have paid for, whats the point in paying ? – or maybe we are all “fair game” when it comes to making money for football?…

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